To get some information, I visited the “Not this MAPS” facebook group, and this was the gist of the argument:
Out of 3/4 of a BILLION dollars not one dime is for creating jobs, public schools, roads, bridges, police or fireman. Instead they want to make a downtown waterpark, or a $400 million downtown convention center.
Correct me if I am wrong, but when you spend $400 million to build something, someone is going to be working on the project. Is there some stipulation in the wording of the initiative that demands that all work be done by out of state robots?
So what would it take to get these people on board? It seems they want this MAPS initiative to act as a bake sale for the police and fire departments–or at least that’s the line of reasoning they are using to get the support of those unions.
We understand we are in a recession, and any projects that are not absolutely necessary may not be the wisest thing to spend money on now. But we see this project as necessary for large long-term economic benefits.
These projects would go a long way in making Oklahoma City a vacation destination that would attract people from within Oklahoma, as well as from surrounding states. And this influx of visitors would bring with them an influx in money, which would boost the city’s economy.
Furthermore, the projects may make OU students more inclined to stay in Oklahoma and around the metro area after graduation, which would help our local economy.
The Plaza District Association believes that MAPS 3 will create a better city for us to live, work and play. In addition, we believe the impact of this initiative will spur further growth for our district in regards to tourism. Our association has been supported by the City of Oklahoma City, and our experience has proven the city’s leadership believes and is accountable for the prosperity of ALL areas of Oklahoma City–even the little 1 1/2 block of NW 16th Street. If you haven’t in a while, talk a walk down our little stretch of 16th Street. You will be able to see how the vision of our city leadership to invest in this area, the hard work of the community and the dedication of our city’s law enforcement have all worked together to create an exciting and energetic district. We feel MAPS 3 will create an even better example of the public/private partnerships that continue to make our city a place we want to live.
I wish that instead of this MAPS 3 proposal, the city had proposed a Healthy City Initiative (not using the MAPS brand) and included the river improvements, trails, maybe the senior centers, maybe the park, and improvements to other parks and social services throughout the city. Something more in line with the successful 2007 bond issue. I think that would have easily passed and left time to put together a truly radical and transformative mega-project.
And we do need to put together a mega-project. The one that the citizenry asked for was public transportation (and moving people around downtown does not suffice). I do not believe this should be handled by the MAPS brand, but should be a permanent addition to the tax system in the city and the region. For, it must truly be regional and worked out in conjunction with outlying cities and the possibilities for increased rail (and other transport) on a state and national level.
The Whitewater Center expects to bring-in nearly $7 million this year, just enough to cover its bills and make a small profit of $11,000.
The city of Charlotte gives the center $286,000 annually in taxpayer dollars.
The Center says despite the recession, people are coming out to enjoy the rapids, rock wall climbing, and the cafe.
"The bulk of our business takes place between April and the end of October, so we're cautiously optimistic we're going to end up having a pretty good year," said Operations Manager Jeff Wise.
Hank Broska and his wife spent some time at the U.S. National Whitewater Center on Thursday.
"It's our first time," said Broska. "We heard so much about it."
This year, the park is offering an all-sport pass of $49 which makes it more affordable and allows visitors to enjoy all the park has to offer. Officials think this help boost the bottom line.
A proposed whitewater rafting and kayaking facility near downtown could have an annual economic impact of as much as $29 million, a study conducted for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce shows.
“The total footprint of the mid-level park and associated buildings would be 15 acres,” the report says. “It would include a freestyle channel, an instruction channel, and a competition channel surrounding an upper and lower pond. There would also be a kayak- and canoe-launch area. The facilities would include a restaurant and conference center, an outfitter store and an adjacent climbing center.”